Jyotsna “Joey” Singh first started designing jewelry for herself, to fulfill a craving for jewelry unlike any other on the market. After a manufacturer asked her if she was designing with the intention to set up a small business, the seed was planted - and she felt excited by the idea of creating extraordinary jewelry for all women to wear. Thus, Manjusha by Jyotsna Singh was born.
But her entry into jewelry was no accident. Joey is the granddaughter of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, who from 1900 to 1938 was the ruling Maharaja of Patiala, a self-governing princely state of British Empire in India. Well known for his love of opulent accessories, Bhupinder Singh befriended jeweler-to-the-kings Jacques Cartier and entrusted Cartier with creating exquisite pieces of jewelry using unmounted gemstones from the royal collection.
The Patiala Necklace was the most striking and valuable of these pieces, and it featured nearly 2,930 diamonds, including the "De Beers" diamond, which was the world's seventh-largest diamond at the time. This necklace has been exhibited in museums all over the world.
Growing up, Joey was lucky enough to have been surrounded by many of her grandfather’s and family’s beautiful pieces of jewelry, and this exposure drives her innate passion for jewelry and has helped her grow the Manjusha by Jyotsna Singh brand.
Joey describes her jewelry as “fusion” for its blend of contemporary with slight eastern touch. Though there’s nothing decidedly “Indian” about her designs, each piece still captures some hallmarks of the culture - like the rich 22K gold, the rainbow of gemstone colors, and the “jadau” technique of setting stones. At the same time, the shapes of the stones she chooses are very modern.
Joey finds inspiration from many different sources, but the colors of nature and art move her deeply. If she’s inspired by a piece of art, she’ll imagine how beautiful the creation would look interpreted in gemstones. She loves the colors of labradorite and lapis but enjoys working the most with sapphire and tourmaline.
While she creates designs for everyday wear, Joey’s true passion is elaborate evening wear, and she believes the necklace is the most important piece of jewelry for making a statement. She’s seen women put on a beautiful piece of jewelry and be completely transformed by it. With Manjusha by Jyotsna Singh, her goal is to inspire that transformation and help women express themselves in such a way that brings their inner beauty to light.
Currently, Joey is excited to unveil a new Manjusha by Jyotsna Singh collection designed exclusively for the Legion of Honor, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Available to purchase in the museum gift shop and in limited quantities online, the collection celebrates an exhibition called “East Meets West: Jewels of the Maharajas from The Al Thani Collection”, on view from November 3, 2018 to February 24, 2019. This exhibition features more than 150 Indian or European-made pieces associated with Mughal emperors, maharajas, and their courts - including the Patiala Necklace.
The Maharaja of Patiala was the ruler of the princely state of Patiala, in British India. In the late 1920’s he sent a chest of gems to The House of Cartier in Paris, with a request to make his crown jewels. Included in the gems was a 234 Carat yellow octahedral De Beers diamond that had been found in the De Beers mines in the late 19 th century. It weighed 426 carats in its uncut form and was bought by Maharaja Patiala in an auction in Paris. The iconic Collier de Patiala was created by the House of Cartier and presented to him in 1928. It remains one of the most extravagant pieces ever created and the largest single commission that Cartier ever executed.
The Patiala Necklace had five rows of platinum chains encrusted with 2930 diamonds (approximately 960 carat) and some Burmese rubies. The necklace was later dismantled and sold. In 1982 at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva, the “De Beers” diamond reappeared and was sold. In 1998 a Cartier representative stumbled upon the remnants in a small antique shop in London and bought it. All the big diamonds and Burmese rubies were gone.
It took Cartier four years to restore the necklace to resemble the original. They replaced the lost diamonds with cubic zirconia and synthetic diamonds.
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